Tell Me About Your Gaming Laptop

By Jim Rossignol on October 4th, 2011 at 1:35 pm.

That's a computer, fyi.
Okay then! My rambling foray into PC hardware continues. Later in the week I am going to do another PC-build post with a better, clearer version of what we discussed here. That’ll also contain some suggestions about cheaper builds and also some suggestions for what to do if you can’t/won’t build your own machine. In the meantime, however, I want to hear some opinions on the topic of gaming laptops. I tend to cart around various categories of netbook these days, with no real intention of gaming on them, even if they can actually muster a fair bit of PC gaming’s history. But I am aware than many people do having laptops with considerable more oomph. What I want to hear about is your feedback on laptops that you use for gaming. What are the specs? What was the cost? How happy are you with it? Any niggles? Would you recommend it?

Speak!

, .

198 Comments »

  1. Omroth says:

    I went to boarding school so I’ve always used Dell’s desktop replacements, starting with an Inspiron 8000, all the way through the XPS range, and now I have an Alienware m18x. I’m hugely happy with the m18x – the keyboard is superb and the twin 6990s are basically desktop cards. I need a laptop nowadays so I can work at the office and at home on the same computer – I’m often working 14 hours a day and I have a wife who likes me to be in the same room as her and pretend I’m watching One Tree Hill. Sure it’s overpriced, but as a business expense it’s less crazy.

    • apocraphyn says:

      Also got an Alienware, M17x. It was bloody expensive and it’s bloody heavy too – but since I got a job abroad and knew I was going to be moving around a lot house-wise, I wanted something portable. (That, and I wanted to spoil myself). Dual 2GB Nvidia GTX 480M graphics cards, 8GB of RAM, i7 quad core processor…yep.

      Got it over a year and a half ago and it can still play most games on max settings – which is all I could ever ask for, really. Would still prefer a desktop over a laptop, but it certainly does the job.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I use an m18x too, you certainly stand out, and not necessarily in a good way, and it weighs more than me, but it works smoothly and I can open it up without voiding my warranty, so I’m happy!

    • Premium User Badge Skeletor68 says:

      Question to the other guys with Alienware and particularly the other M17x owner. My own M17x runs like a dream but the fan is really loud and annoys the hell out of my gf if I’m running something fairly labour intensive like Witcher 2. Have you guys had similar problems?

    • Omroth says:

      Skeletor, I have indeed had that problem. I’d investigate opening it up and cleaning everything out to start with. On an m17x you won’t be able to run it on integrated gfx, but you might be able to get away with changing the power plan to “low power” or whatever. Frankly with the Witcher 2 you may just have to go to a different room.

    • Premium User Badge Skeletor68 says:

      @ Omroth

      Thanks man, thought as much. It only seems to do it on certain games though. 30 hours of Vampire: Masquerade, not a peep. 10 minutes into Mount and Blade and the fans of doom begin to whir.

      I’ve only had the laptop a few months so I wouldn’t expect dust to be too much of a problem as yet. I’ll check out that lower power setting though, thanks.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      * Laptops are God’s gift to gaming, at least if we were still stuck in the LAN era. Pizza + friends + gaming.
      * Dell == Alienware, and they have good screens. My five year old laptop has 1 out of 1920×1200 dead pixels.
      * My next laptop will be an upgraded (not by me) Sager 8170.
      * SSD are all the rage, but I’m going with RAID0 and tons of RAM.

    • Captchist says:

      Until I got a new desktop I used to game mostly on my Dell XPS.

      Pros – the screen was an absolute dream. Beautiful colors. I upgraded from the standard screen and it was well well worth the money.

      Cons – Really really hot. Couldn’t use it on my lap. If I was using it on a bench the keyboard area got very warm which made it uncomfortable, and if I was using it on a very high req game the laptop would occasionally overheat the slow right down. Eventually bought a cooling pad to sit underneath it with a built in fan. Good investment but obviously not terribly practical to carry around.
      I wouldn’t recommend it to be honest. The heat just made it so uncomfortable to use for long periods.
      That screen though…. wow.

    • Simon says:

      “I’m often working 14 hours a day and I have a wife who likes me to be in the same room as her and pretend I’m watching One Tree Hill”

      Damn, that comment was like looking in the mirror! Except I only have an old school XPS that mostly runs Frozen Synapse now…

  2. Ginger Yellow says:

    An HP DM1-3100, aka the DM1z in the US. It’s by no stretch of the imagination a gaming laptop, but I did choose it on the basis of its gaming prowess relative to other netbooks. It runs on a Zacate APU and can handle stuff like Portal 2 surprisingly well on low settings. It’s way better than my old Eee901 for regular desktop use too, but the CPU isn’t up to snuff for any particularly intensive gaming. Battery life is pretty good too, even when gaming.

  3. Ondrej says:

    I use Acer tablet-notebook hybrid to play Puzzle Quest and all sorts of casual games that support touch screens and that I have on Steam, it’s ideal for those long nights.

  4. Srekel says:

    I have a netbook that can’t even handle the original CS…

    • xavdeman says:

      Same here, ASUS 1201HA. It has the same graphics chip as the iPhone 4 and iPad so it should be able to handle things like the Unreal Engine, only Intel’s driver support is abysmal. So not even scrolling inside the browser is smooth, and I can’t even run Aero. Thanks Intel for the wonderful GMA500 drivers!

    • deanb says:

      Eeek, the 1201HA has a decent amount of RAM, but it’s CPU is built for UMPCs. That’s not meant to go in a netbook at all.
      If people are picking up netbooks check it’s an Intel Atom N-series. They’re the ones that come with GPUs. Or if you’re getting a really new (As in from 1 week ago) netbook grab one with a D2500/D2700 chip. Dual core, and the D2700 is 2.13ghz. Should be nippy enough for most things.

    • xavdeman says:

      http://ark.intel.com/products/35466/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z520-%28512K-Cache-1_33-GHz-533-MHz-FSB%29
      The Atom Z520 isn’t terrible. It boots Windows 7, Office 2010 etc. pretty quickly and in general I have no negative feelings toward it. It’s also just 2Watt, which is great for battery. It’s just that damn GMA500 that they use in lieu of a real GPU like in Sandy Bridge etc. Due to the drivers it can’t even play 720p Youtube. There are unofficial drivers available that do a lot better, but they don’t got any power saving features etc. so it really is up to Intel and ASUS to get their act together. But yeah I mainly use it for university stuff anyway, which doesn’t require a GPU.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Although, no matter what chip you buy, if it’s got Atom written on it, it’ll always be a slouch… In Order processing is Intel’s preferred way of not killing batteries.

    • Premium User Badge Hodge says:

      Wot deanb said. The only laptop I own is a year-old ASUS EEE 1015PN which set me back around $350. It’s obviously not going to blow a GTX580 out of the water, but I was surprised at how well it handles most stuff. I was housesitting on the weekend Portal 2 came out and I ended up playing the entire second half of the game on it.

      I guess it’s another nice side-effect of the consoles stretching out the upgrade cycle. Not only are we spared spending $2000 on a high-end PC, it gives the budget stuff a chance to catch up, too.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Are you sure? My first-gen EeePC happily eats up UT99, and 1NSANE. (And also SMAC and Spelunky and Nethack.) That’d be a Celery 500 processor and some kind of Intel shoes for graphics. Half-Life 1 engine shouldn’t be a bother.

      In fact, my old ThinkPad i1250 (useful links considered harmful by hateful comment system) running Win98 for retro excitements will do UT99, and it does it in software because that SMI LynxEM4+ GPU wouldn’t know what a polygon was if you beat it over the head with a trigonometry textbook. Back in its day I’m sure I did in fact play Half-Life on it.

      The best bit though is that my new “Intel HD graphics” one can run TF2 happily enough, and Civ 4, and Flatout 2 at native res with prettyness. With battery life and without weighing a ton or burning holes through any surface it’s sat on. “Gaming laptops” are folly, I say. Offset your gaming by a few years and you can actually have a useful portable machine which also runs games.

    • LionsPhil says:

      (This is the worst comment system. Hours later, one of the spam-blocked attempts unblocks.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      (It took multiple tries and breaking it up into parts to get it through.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      (If I could delete this you wouldn’t be having to read it.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      (But somehow RPS has a comment system that would be an embarressment to turn in as a undergraduate CompSci project.)

  5. smallclaws says:

    I use a 2010 Macbook Pro 13″ for my gaming, and have recently set up Windows 7 to run via a BootCamp partition.

    If I recall correctly, it runs on a 255mb card, an Nvidia 320M. Hardly the most beefy thing ever, but it actually does the job surprisingly well, although if you own a Macbook Pro you’ll know that you need a cooling pad for gaming, unless you enjoy either burns or sweat coating your legs. Bit noisy, but it does the job – anyone playing games on an MBP would benefit from running smcfancontrol, as it monitors your temp and displays it in the bar above.

    I enjoy it – I can play SC2, or Minecraft, anywhere I like in the house, and I love that flexibility. I’m sure there are some who saw “Macbook” and switched off, but let me assure you, it does the job admirably given that it’s not really built for gaming. So, specs and cost:

    4GB RAM
    250GB HDD (non-SSD)
    3.4Ghz processor
    250mb Nvidia 320M graphics card

    Cost: £1000 (Yeah, yeah, but some of us bought our Macbooks for the good OS and fantastic keyboard – I value my laptop choices by how well I can type on them, as any writer probably would.)

    I also use a Logitech cooling pad, a Razer Deathadder mouse and a Razer mat, which I strongly advise getting for laptop gaming – being able to have a moveable, mousemat-sized hard surface to use your mouse on is great.

    • Tams80 says:

      You put your laptop on your lap? You are braver man than I am (or woman, but I’m not a woman so don’t quite know how that would work out).

    • Premium User Badge lasikbear says:

      Using a 2006 Macbook Pro myself, upgraded it to a whole 2 gigs of RAM which is the most it can support. It works suprisingly well with the ultrlight copy of Windows I have for it, was able to play Dragon Age fine, though when I played it again on my desktop I was shocked at how fast the game normally was.

      Mostly its good for playing older or less intensive games, but its something at least. Its also very prone to overheating and hurting itself. Already melted two power cords, had two batteries die and had the logic port die as well… also the HD got corrupted at one point but that might have been my fault.

    • mashakos says:

      another MBP owner here.
      I’m on bootcamp’ed Windows 7 99% of the time – except when I need some Terminal goodness.

      Although I don’t really play games on it, I’ve tried Starcraft II (on medium) and L4D at 1080p and surprisingly it runs both games at 60fps. Switching to my desktop beast I really see the difference in SCII cut-scenes but for light L4D or Painkiller sessions it’s ideal.

      I tried a variety of other games as well just out of curiosity, and noticed that my MBP performs as well as a PS3 which is not too bad on the go. The big advantage of a MBP is that the battery life lasts a lot longer than a desktop replacement (2 hours while gaming, 3.5 hours otherwise).

      specs:
      Core 2 Duo T9600 2.8Ghz
      4GB DDR2
      nvidia 9600 mobility lameness X :(

    • evilhayama says:

      I have a 2011 15″ Macbook Pro, dual boot with Windows 7. I’ve been quite happy with the performance, I’ve played Deus Ex:HR, Dawn of War 2, Borderlands, Witcher 2 and Street Fighter 4 with no problems. Starcraft 2 worked nicely under Mac OS.

      As a bonus, when I’m playing games my cockatiel enjoys the warming desert winds emerging from the back.

    • ASBO says:

      I’ve got a 2011 MBP, the performance is great. But I don’t game on it because it’s got a crappy touchpad. I could plug a mouse and/or gamepad, but then I figure I might as well just use my desktop.

  6. TheCheese33 says:

    Dell XPS 15. It has an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670, 4 gigs of RAM, and an Intel Core i5 M 430 @ 2.27 GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.3 GHz.

    • beloid says:

      you do know that’s actually a dual core, four threads CPU

    • matredvers says:

      vouch for an xps 15 especially if you hang about in the dell outlet. refurbished ones are mint , no scratches pubes etc,

    • Premium User Badge Hereticus says:

      Aye the XPS15 is a decent laptop – got the current gen one as I was travelling a lot for work over the past year. Opted to leave it at 1368×768 though and go for the 540M as I’ve got a desktop at home for the high res, and this way pretty much everything plays at high with a decent frame rate :) Also replaced the CD drive with an SSD and bumped the RAM to 8GB to persuade work to let me use it instead of the one I was handed out so it does the job very well.
      Completely failed to appreciate it when I first got it, but I really like the onboard 3g modem, as it seems to draw less power than a dongle, and you don’t have to use the invariably terrible dongle software!

  7. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    I’m a happy owner of an Asus G53JW-FHD, which has been my desktop replacement for almost a year now. The portability of it is grand, not being desk bound is very liberating, however it’s a computer that has to be tethered for actual genuine gaming.

    Can’t complain really, lots of features, good build, not a massively groan worthy price tag, and I’m still yet to have an issue with it. Also runs games a treat for the vast majority of the part.

    Otherwise there’s always that Alienware M11x if you want something genuinely portable for gaming, which compliments a desktop rather than replaces it. Or there’s that Razer mini-thingo which has had no news since its announcement for all that I know.

    Oh and edited for specs:
    i7 Q740, 460M 1.5gb, 12gb mem (8gb is the model standard), 1tb hdd, 15.4″ monitor, Blu Ray drive, and a variety of other bits.

    • LockjawNightvision says:

      I’m rocking the same. I find it runs most stuff admirably. It handled the Witcher II on high without too much stuttering, though it would choke a little when there was lots of foliage on screen, so I played most of the game with about half the settings on medium, if I recall.

    • Danarchist says:

      I have the Asus J73jh. It has a i7 and a 5870 with a gig of memory (non-shared). It’s a beast to lug around but not as heavy as my brothers mx17. Then again if your a grown man that doesn’t live on a diet of wheat and soy you should probably be able to lug it without much grunting.
      Only thing I do not like about it is the resolution of the screen. It is sort of….dull. Not crisp. Like looking through eye glasses that have finger oil on them. I mean it’s a giant monitor, bigger than any other laptop monitor I have seen at 17.3 but it just doesnt provide the eye candy of my simple desktop monitor.
      If you care about battery life on a gaming rig your either a hardware reviewer/blogger or daft.

    • goliath1333 says:

      I have the m11x and must say it’s great at FPS, but sadly chokes on many hard core RTS and other CPU games. They’ve patched CIV 5 to the point that it’s playable though, so it’s not totally incapable. I also was just laddering Starcraft 2 in the airport yesterday, so the portability IS awesome. Gaming netbook? hell yeah!

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      I’m currently using a G53SW-XN1, which is the G53JW-FHD’s slightly slower cousin.

      It has an i7-2630QM @ 2 GHz (3 GHz with ReadyBoost© or SpeedBoost© or whatever), 6 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, a 460m with 1.5 gigabytes of video memory, and a single 500 GB, 7200 RPM hard drive, although I’m planning on getting a SSD in the near future.

      It looks like a fighter jet and was exceptionally cheap compared to computers by other companies. It’s a bit on the thick & heavy side, but I really got it to be a desktop replacement for college that won’t be woefully obsolete in three years.

      It really is a wonderful computer.

    • CrivenS says:

      Wow I have the same comp as Totalbiscuit :D
      I have been nothing but overjoyed with the performance. Only one game (SC2) puts any pressure on the temperature, and keeping the body raised for airflow resolves such issues.

  8. trooperdx3117 says:

    Since im in college i dont have any use or space for a desktop so im using my Dell Inspiron 15R, its actually surprisingly decent, intel core i3 @2.4ghz with hyper threading enabled, 3gb ram and a Amd HD radeon 5650 1gb with dx11, right now im able to play the battlefield 3 beta at high settings and everything silky smooth so im delighted!

  9. TotalBiscuit says:

    I’ve got an Asus G73SW, mostly for video encoding while at events, but it games pretty well too. It’s nice to have the power if I’m stuck in a hotel for a week or whatever to keep up with the latest stuff. It’s got a 460 in it so it’s not too shabby as well as a 1080p capable screen, though better off gaming in 720p for performance considerations. Asus revamped it with the G74 and put a 560 in it and 16 gigs of ram (totally unnecessary). The laptop itself works well for gaming. The keyboard is full-sized and effective, though for typing it sometimes misses keypresses because of how shallow it is (the G74 fixed that problem). The machine is well cooled thanks to the big heatsinks and exhausts at the back which make the laptop bulkier but it stays cool all the time.

    The machine itself has the following spec.

    i7-2 2630QM
    8gb RAM
    Geforce 460 mobile
    2x 500gb Seagate Momentus hybrid drives

    So yeah, I’m pretty happy with it for gaming on the move. I tend to take a 360 pad with me so I can play stuff like Bastion on the train. It’s not exactly optimal to try and use a high -sensitivity mouse in a moving vehicle, bumps around too much. I honestly haven’t had many noteworthy problems with it at all.

    • Tams80 says:

      17″ on a train?! Do you travel first class?! If so I hope you don’t put it on the Cynical Brit expenses!

    • Milky1985 says:

      Nah he will just wear the top hat on the train, it will give him an air of authority so he can just demand the desk space from the peasants around him!

      (that and I imagine hes a big scary man who you wouldn’t mess with)

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Yes I travel first class and why wouldn’t I put it on expenses? It’s not as if it’s company money, I am the company, it’s my money.

    • Trousers says:

      I got myself an Asus G74s over the summer to replace my old Asus N61j. Its gotta be 5x quieter than my N61j was, and it never gets hot. All games I’ve tried will run at medium-max settings at 1920×1080 (The Witcher 2 pushes it pretty hard, have to disable SSAO and AA unless I lower the res). It is a lot bigger and heavier than my old one, but the whole no-heat, no-noise thing makes it worth it.

      G74: i7 2630qm, Geforce 560m gtx, 12 gb ram, 17in 1920×1080, 640gb HD, $1400 :(

      n61j: i7 720qm, ati 5730m, 4gb ram, 16in 1366×768, 320gb HD, $1100, sold for 900

      Not smart of me to spend so much on a laptop, but I’ve never used a nicer laptop, and the upgrade in quality from the n61 (which got WAY too hot, made way too much noise, and felt way too fragile) is huge. Always had problems connecting via HDMI to my tv or monitor with the old one, probably because of the weird native resolution. The G74 works perfectly with both. Very happy with it.

  10. Unaco says:

    Asus EEE 1215n, that I got a few months ago. It’s sort of Laptop specs, but in a Netbook package. Great battery life (7-8 hours), 2Ghz Dual Core, decent amount of storage, DX11 support (integrated video card AND dedicated NVidia GPU, so get the advantages of both), full 1080p HD Video.

    It’s nothing compared to my desktop, or to some laptops, but handles the sort of games I want to play while mobile perfectly well – Frozen Synapse, Europa Universalis 3, Civ 4, AI War. It’s small, it’s light, it looks cool, it runs cool.

    Only niggle… I hate trackpads. Where the hell is the middle mouse button, or the scroll wheel!?!

  11. yxxxx says:

    My laptop is poweful enought to play games even something like bf3 runs on it prehaps not at max settings but enought to look nice.

    My biggest problem apart from the touch pad which for anything other than slow paced games is useless is the heat they pump out. I sometimes like to play something while watching the tv which involves having the laptop on my lap now if i dont have something in the way the heat soon gets unbearable.

    Otherwise things have come on so much with laptops that you can get a decent one for reasonable prices that will play most games with out problems

    I got a samsung laptop and it has to be the best one in terms of speed price and quality i have owned.

    i5 Dual Core 430M 2.26GHz
    4GB ram
    500GB hdd
    Nvidia GeForce GT 330M 1GB

  12. shadowbadger says:

    I use a laptop almost exclusively at the moment and have yet to find a game I cannot play on it. I’m at work at the moment and the only thing I can remember about it is that it is an Acer with a NVidia 240M card which has handled anything I’ve thrown at it so far.

    My wife adn I are both doctors, we both work stupidl long hours and find having time together hard to find. However, as above with Omroth, she loves watching Greys Anatomy, X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing etc… while I’d rather drink battery acid. To, at least, be in the same room while she watches these abominations makes her happy which, in turn, makes me happy.

  13. Bhazor says:

    I have a laptop that cost about the same as my desktop though with lower specs. It runs so hot I have to run in it on a desk to avoid toasting my mallows, it uses up so much power it has to be permanently plugged into the wall and I have to plug a mouse to make it barely tolarable to use. It also hangs for about 5 seconds when I click a web link.

    I am not a fan of laptops.

    I really wouldn’t consider buying anything more than a little netbook in the future and confine my murder simulators to the desktop.

    • smallclaws says:

      I had the same problem, but a cooling pad solved the problem. Best thing is I can use it to cool anything down – managed to help my poor overheated Wii out a little while back, as it’s a USB pad and just needs a power source. Bit noisy but worth it to avoid the heat issue when sat on the couch.

    • Bhazor says:

      That’s my problem with high end laptops. You have to carry so many peripherals and be permanently plugged into the wall it really defeats the principle.

      You want to use a computer in the lounge? Then put a computer in your lounge. As long as my netbook can play Civ IV (for Fall From Heaven) and last 6 hours its enough for me on the train.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      On the plus side, you can just unplug it, carry it through to another room, plug it in again and continue, none of this powering down and packing up nonsense!

  14. SirForkington says:

    I got a Compaq,

    350 GB storage
    4GB RAM
    Dual Core 2.1 GHz Processor
    ATI HD 4200 graphics card (dxdiag says that has 1986 MB ram, but I’m suspicious of that)

    I got it 3 years ago and it struggles with some games but plays Shogun 2 fairly well.

    It’s the only gaming thing I have, being at uni, though I’ve brought the old desktop this year (though she’s old as well now.)

  15. Irishjohn says:

    I use an Hp Envy 14. It cost just under US$1200, with a larger HDD installed and more RAM.

    Specs:

    Core i5 580 @2.67GHz
    8 GB RAM
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650

    Basically, I always work with a laptop because I move around a fair bit and work between home and various libraries. This time, I made the effort to get a laptop with a graphics card that would be able to handle decent games. I had gotten back into PC games on my Macbook Pro through Win7 on Boot Camp, but I decided to come back to Windows and knew I wanted a PC that could run modern games reasonably well.

    I’m sure that you guys with your desktops will scoff at my little setup but it works just fine for playing new games on the 14 inch screen, and it’s gotten me back into PC gaming in a major way. My only regret is not going the whole hog and getting a 17 inch screen laptop. I don’t really need to be running around all day with the thing so the extra size wouldn’t have been a killer, but it would have been nice to have at home. Future-wise, I am considering buying a large external monitor. Um…. for work.

    • Premium User Badge FriendlyFire says:

      I’m also the happy owner of an Envy 14 (6gb RAM, i5-430M). I’ve had the apparent luck of purchasing it fast enough to get one of the awesome 1600×900 Radiance screens, which is really the sole reason I picked this laptop up. Makes for a fantastically high-density screen at 14″. The colors, brightness and contrast are all lavish.

      I’ve also upgraded it to a SSD for additional speed.

    • Tams80 says:

      You could get a fairly decent monitor for a few hundred pounds.

  16. Unaco says:

    Asus EEE 1215n, that I got a few months ago. It’s sort of Laptop specs, but in a Netbook package. Great battery life (7-8 hours), 2Ghz Dual Core, decent amount of storage, DX11 support (integrated video card AND dedicated NVidia GPU, so get the advantages of both), full 1080p HD Video.

    It’s nothing compared to my desktop, or to some laptops, but handles the sort of games I want to play while mobile perfectly well – Frozen Synapse, Europa Universalis 3, Civ 4, AI War. It’s small, it’s light, it looks cool, it runs cool.

    Only problem… I hate trackpads. Where the hell is the middle mouse button, or the scroll wheel!?!

  17. Kronic says:

    I’m using a MSI GX660R.

    Intel I5-460M (2.5Ghz)
    8GB DDR3
    ATI HD 5870 (1GB)
    2 500Gb drives (RAID 0)
    1920×1080

    Pretty happy with it overall, plays pretty much everything I’ve thrown at it at a reasonable level. It has an overclock button (warranty covered) which I’ve yet to experiment with, but so far it’s pretty stable. Quite happy overall, cost just over £1000.

    • Raniz says:

      I’ve got an GT683R, same specs but with just 1TB of disk and a Core i7 and a Nvidia GTX560M.

      As a gaming laptop it’s nice. It’s the right size, 1920×1080 and packs quite a lot of power.

      As a developers computer it’s even better, it’s got a really nice processor, 8GB of RAM (which I will expand to 16 in the near future) and 1920×1080 means a lot of screen real estate to play with.

      It is, however, not that great if you want to run Linux on it. The Intel raid didn’t really play nice with me in the beginning, I can’t get the webcam to work and the recovery disk won’t tolerate having GRUB as bootloader (I had to extract my Windows key using another computer and reinstall using a DVD, because the setup refuses to continue when it can’t recognize the boot loader).

      Oh, and the touchpad is awful; no multitouch and the scroll works by pressing the corners.

    • rektide says:

      The GX660R is a beast, wonderful for gaming or development. I replaced the stock 320GB drives with a SSD and a 750GB spinning disk. USB3, eSata (no FIS switching, you jbod loons out there), 1080p screen, quality speakers, good video card, solid build, low price: incredible system.

    • Kronic says:

      Oh yes, the GX does have marvellous speakers.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      I have a GT683DXR which is new. I love it so far, but one minor niggle has been that noone seems to ‘own’ the nVidia drivers for the 570M that’s inside of it. nVidia doesn’t want to give you any, and MSI acts like this version of the notebook doesn’t exist. I can’t plya battlefield 3 on it because of this. Otherwise it’s been great.

      It is a 15″ laptop that is the size and weight of a 17″, but the 17″ gaming laptops seem to be just beastly and bigger.

  18. bill says:

    I’ve got a Dell Studio 17 from 2-3 years ago. It seems pretty good – but with a 17inch screen it’s effectively a desktop.

    It’s not a gaming laptop at all – but it’s fine for most games. I don’t buy cutting edge games anyway, but it worked smoothly for portal 2.

    COuldn’t give a crap about hardware to be honest, but i think it has a 2.2ghz core 2 duo and an ati mobile card. It has a Windows Experience Rating of 5.0 if that helps!

  19. mongpong says:

    Sony Vaio, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz, Windows 7 64 bit, 6 gig ram, ATI Radeon 4650 1 gig graphics. getting on a bit but got it for £300 as I sell laptops (was worth £1000). Love it..HD screen with X-Black technology means it’s pin sharp for watching Blu-rays. Quite heavy and battery life is crap though but never had any problems with it overall.

    I just bought some Alienwares though so may switch over…depends on how badly i decide that Batelfield 3 needs to be played on Ultra :)

  20. Unaco says:

    Stop eating my comment!

    Asus EEE 1215n, that I got a few months ago. It’s sort of Laptop specs, but in a Netbook package. Great battery life (7-8 hours), 2Ghz Dual Core, decent amount of storage, DX11 support (integrated video card AND dedicated NVidia GPU, so get the advantages of both), full 1080p HD Video.

    It’s nothing compared to my desktop, or to some laptops, but handles the sort of games I want to play while mobile perfectly well – Frozen Synapse, Europa Universalis 3, Civ 4, AI War. It’s small, it’s light, it looks cool, it runs cool.

    Only niggle… I hate trackpads. Where the hell is the middle mouse button, or the scroll wheel!?!

  21. Pasperix says:

    MSI GX660R
    I got this laptop because broadband isn’t available where I live and I have to do all my online gaming at other sites.
    Core i7 740QM(1.73GHz) 15.6″ 6GB Memory 640GB HDD 7200rpm BD Combo ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 Broadway XT
    $1500 (yes, I am ashamed of this) The same system without the Blu-Ray drive is a little under $1200
    The other day I played the Battlefield 3 Beta at 1920×1080 on high graphics settings with no difficulty.

  22. Battlehenkie says:

    Because I’m a student and I also travel quite often my main rig is actually a laptop. It’s an Asus N73SV model that costs about 900 euro’s in the Netherlands (I’m a student, would’ve loved to have a little more oomph but those pesky monthly budgets!). For that you get a 17″ Full HD screen with a I7 2630QM and a GT540M. It’s really not on par with what you get for the same money if you bought a desktop rig, but it’s acceptable. In general it’s okay, except for the keyboard-flex and awful inbuilt webcam/mic. It does have the best speakers I’ve ever tried, which seems to be a new line Asus is making. The only two real gripes I have with it are the nVidia card. I used to be a loyal ATI customer and switched to nVidia for a laptop because there’s more range to choose from in gamers laptops.

    Big mistake. They have something called ‘Optimus’ which basically renders your computer intelligent: it chooses whether to enable the GT540M or the built-in Intel HD graphics card. Except that it’s absolute shit. I’ve spent hours on getting the nVidia to enable for a handful of games and it just wouldn’t do so. No feedback from nVidia and only 2/3 months after I got the laptop had it been fixed. Tip: go for ATI.

    Also not likely to buy Asus again as my built-in wireless card malfunctioned after only 3 months of careful use. I can’t be bothered to send out my only rig for 3 weeks for a replacement card so I’m just using a Wi-Fi dongle.

    The thing is, there’s just not that much to choose from if you’re on a budget. In Europe you’re either confined to Dell (horrible experiences with customer service and general trustworthiness of my material actually functioning when I want it to), MSI (their laptops generally look like Santa and his posse of reindeers decorated it with joyous christmas lights) and Asus, which just seems to me like the least crappy of the three. I reckon it’s a niche market that still has to develop, as it’s rather bland at the moment.

  23. carn1x says:

    I’ve been using an Asus 6930G as my main rig now for 2 years, it’s been amazing and not a single problem, and all for an absolute steal for around £700 iirc.

    Core 2 Duo 2Ghz
    3Gb RAM
    Nvidia 9600GS
    250Gb HDD

    It’s almost time to say good bye to it though and buy another lappy :(. My reasons for owning a laptop were to have a gaming rig I could take with me overseas, but now I live in Hong Kong where room for a desktop is very limited, so I’ll keep playing the laptop game.

  24. Grinnbarr says:

    I got a MSI cx620 for uni with an i5 430M, ATI Radeon HD5470 mobility, 4GB RAM and a 500GB harddrive and it cost me about £600. It also has a low power Intel graphics chip for battery powered use. I can run most older games, ME1/2 and minecraft run fine and i can even play BC2 and company of heroes on low settings. Probably the worst decision I ever made as now I never get any work done. But it’s a good gaming laptop at a good price,

  25. Starayo says:

    Being Australian, I’m used to being completely and utterly ripped off on electronics, but this one wasn’t too bad.

    Asus G73Jh. Core i7-740QM CPU, mobility HD5870 GPU, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB hard drive. Backlit keyboard and a weird stealth fighter-eque design. Also, it funnels air from the front to the back so you don’t hear the fans so much. Only cost me about a grand.

    Only issue with it is that it’s huge. 17″ laptop bigger than most 18″+ due to bigass battery. Could only find one big laptop backpack that would fit it and even then just barely.

  26. Taverius says:

    Its a Sager (Clevo) 17″

    i7 2820QM @2.3GHz. Hyperthreading (so 8 cores), turbos up to 3GHz or somnething.
    GTX 485M 2GB
    16GB DDR III
    200GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
    750GB Seagate spindle drive
    1080p screen

    Still manages to run everything smoothly with all graphics options maxed … although we’ll see with RAGE.

    Only problem is its a 5kg laptop with a 4kg 240W power brick. and its literally the size of a brick.

    • Baconberries says:

      Yeaah Clevo!
      I just got the Lotus P151HM 1 a month ago and I like it a lot.
      The GTX 560M is not exactly top of the line, but it’s moderately better than the 8800GT I had in the desktop this baby replaced, and I’m running the BF3 Beta on it buttersmooth.
      Plus as far as I can tell, and I did do quite a bit of research, there is no better bang per buck than with the Sager/Clevo line.

      The only downsides of this laptop so far are the sub-par audio jack and the way the fans seem to cycle a bit too much.

  27. shadowbadger says:

    Mines an Acer something or other from a few years ago, I can’t tell you the specs other than I’m pretty sure the graphics card is an NVidia 240M GX or somesuch.

    It works fine, all the games I’ve bought have worked great on it (Borderlands, Portal 2, MAss Effect 2, Brink, Batman Arkham), gets a little hot when it’s on my lap but means I get to sit in the lounge while my wife watches some tv abominations like Greys Anatomy, X Factor and I get to blowup stuff on my computer.

    Cost me something like £450 – best money I ever spent

  28. Anominity says:

    MSI GX660R 15.6″ WLED

    Intel I5-460M,
    6GB DDR3,
    1TB HDD,
    ATI HD 5870 1GB GDDR5

    Bought it to go to LAN with as it is far too much effort going with a desktop. Over all, very impressed, plays everything I have asked, now just to test out BF3 with fingers crossed.

    • Telos says:

      I have exactly the same laptop. It does run BF3. I haven’t updated the drivers yet (like I was told to) so there are a few graphical glitches. I have no idea whether a driver update would fix that though. Good news is, that on low settings I get a constant 60fps and it looks pretty damn good aswell. (Full resolution 1920×1080). I Can put it up to full and it’s still playable, I just like my shooters to be butter-y smooth.

  29. pyjamarama says:

    I which I had an Alienware M11x small and powerful.

  30. Unaco says:

    System seems to be finding my comments quite tasty… cos they’re just getting eaten.

    I have an Asus EEE 1215N. Laptop sort of specs, in a Netbook package. Great battery life, small, portable, looks cool, runs cool… yet has DX11 support, 1080p HD video support, plenty of storage, 2 graphics systems, integrated and dedicated, so can get the best of both. It’s nowhere near the grunt of my desktop (or some Laptops), but it plays the sort of games I want to play while mobile no problem – AI War, Frozen Synapse, Europa Universalis 3, Civ 4.

  31. Nils says:

    I’ve got an MSI GX740, and I love it, now that I’ve found a decent enough cooler. I can’t stress enough how crucial a laptop cooler is if you get one designed for gaming. Here’s the one I got: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834991042

  32. Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    How did you get a picture of my laptop?

  33. ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

    My sexy little 2yr-old Acer Aspire 6935g still teases me into playing mucho gameage, the little pixel-wanton hussy.

    It’s been a brilliant way to play almost all games over the last 24 months at 30+ fps (usually on medium to high levels, but no AA) at 720p or 1366×768.

    For example, the 258,873 Unreal-engine based games all run very nicely, which is just fine by me. Will obviously want an upgrade for dx11 stuff like Witcher 2 and the Metro games though.

    Was an absolute bargain at £330
    (Though possibly nearer £785.66 if you include credit card interest)

    16″ screen (1366×768)
    2.8GHz Core2Duo
    Nvidia 9600m 512MB (with the slower DDR2 memory)
    Wired Xbox 360 controller
    Massive bastard Steam library.

  34. The Spoon says:

    I used to have an Acer Aspire laptop that I’d use for gaming.

    It started off pretty good, but due to shoddy manufacturing and constant terrible repairing by Acer, the thing felt like it was on fire even when i was just sat on the desktop.

    Plus that corner rubbed my wrist like there was no tomorrow when in the WASD position. :\

  35. Cunzy1 1 says:

    I have a laptop that is pretty old. I don’t even know the name or make of it. Maybe it is a Toshiba. I don’t even let it online! I’d love to be a PC gamer proper but I just don’t have the time, money or inclination. Most of my gaming is done in hour long chunks of time so I need to be from not gaming to playing a game in as short a time as possible. This is why I am sad face at the PCyfication of consoles. Probably best summed up by this video http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?id=3575 OnLive was looking like my perfect solution to lazy gaming but I’d still need to use my nonPC devices for non PC games which sorta defeats the point.

    Specs: Probably worse than your current phone.
    Cost: About a grand ten years ago.
    Happiness: Pretty happy actually. The laptop with no name runs Syberia, Syberia 2, Starcraft, Warcraft and the original Half Life games which keeps me happy. RPS and Youtube is my window into the lovely world of PC games.
    Niggles: For the last five years there’s a stupid pop-up that appears telling me that some file or other relating to some software I no longer run cannot be found.

  36. parm says:

    Dell XPS 15 – the one from about a year ago.

    i7 something or other. Base clock is about 1.7GHz, going up to 2.mumble GHz
    2GB GeForce 435
    4GB of RAMS
    640GB of hard discs
    1080p screen

    It runs most modern games pretty well although it struggles at full 1920×1080. It also gets quite hot and the battery is annoying if you have it in your lap. It’s luggable rather than portable, and honestly I prefer gaming on my (rather older) desktop. My next laptop will be an Ultrabook or an Air-a-like and I shall stick to doing work and playing Minecraft on it.

    (I’ve also got a netbook which is fine for playing rather older games so long as they deal with stupid 1024×600 screen res. I love my netbook)

  37. Milky1985 says:

    My gaming laptop is a very very poor beast, stuck with intel ingerated graphics (which according to the spec docs i dug out, has basic pixel shaders but for some reason no vertex shaders).

    As such my laptop gaming tends to be older games or 2d indie games from steam, last tuime i took the laptop away i played a lot of terraria.

    Anyway spec below

    Core 2 Duo 2.13
    1 Gig Ram
    Intel Integrated graphics
    Windows Vista (yes i know, no-where near enough ram for vista, worked like a charm while i had the beta windows 7 installed on it)

    Only cost me £50 so was well priced really (worked at the store and it needed repairing so as long as i srted the repair (for free) i could take it at that price)

    Has served me well but might be upgrade time this xmas!

  38. Kaira- says:

    HP dv7 something something, can’t remember right now what the model was. 4Gb RAM, AMD HD6550M, AMD Turion II P560 @ 2.5Ghz dual-core processor. Very happy compared to my previous one (Acer Aspire 8530G), which was just a pain in the ass and works now as a Linux-programming-media-puter. Also, runs The Witcher 2 which was all I wanted from it.

  39. Staggy says:

    The power:price ratio for gaming laptops has always always put me off forking out for anything beyond something of netbook quality. But since Onlive arrived in Blighty, I actually find myself escaping from my dark gaming den, plugging an ethernet cable into my Acer WordProccessingPaperweight (TM) and sitting out in the sun during my second playthrough of Deus Ex.

    It’s not perfect, but playing on a lower resolution screen with grapics far better than what the hardware is capable of, alongside a vastly cut price alternative to getting a proper gaming laptop, it makes it a no brainer.

  40. Premium User Badge Lars Westergren says:

    I have an Asus G73JH. I paid something like 2000 pounds for it, later models have become much more affordable.

    PLUS:
    + It has comfortably played everything I’ve wanted for years. Only Witcher 2 gave me that old itch to upgrade, and now that Batman: Arkham City and Bioshock: Infinite is on the way I am considering buying a new one which doubles as a home theatre PC. Not decided if that will be another laptop.
    + It is fairly silent, and don’t get too hot, much thanks to the big fans.
    + It’s not beautiful but it looks fairly discreet, unlike most gaming PCs it doesn’t look like a 12 year old’s Transformers fantasy, so I can take it to conferences.
    + It can double as my programming/photo editing machine, and unlike a stationary computer I can put it away while not using it, so it doesn’t clutter up my living space. This is more important to me than the FPS/money ratio.
    + I have dual housing so I can carry it with me.
    + Very sharp screen.

    MINUS:
    - As usual with PC laptop makers the driver support is atrocious. With Starcraft 2 my troubles started, it claimed it required newer Radeon drivers, so I tried downloading and installing the latest Catalyst drivers directly from ATI. The result was a terribly unstable computer which froze randomly. Uninstalling Catalyst turned out to be a nightmare but finally I managed to get back the Asus approved laptop drivers. Amnesia refused to run at all, but Asus didn’t update their homepage for years. Finally I found a way to update the firmware of the graphics card at a forum. The attitude seems to be “you’ve given us your money, now piss off.”
    - If it is not plugged in the battery runs out in about 1.5 hours. It is not something you can watch DVD on when on a journey, it is a stationary replacement.

  41. Capt Fatbeard says:

    I’m using a Sony Vaio E series laptop with an Intel Core i5 M450 @2.4 GHz, 4gb’s of RAM and a ATI Radeon HD 5650 1gb with DirectX 11. I used it whilst at Uni last year as I was moving about a lot, and to be honest its been pretty good. I’ve been using a laptop for gaming for the past four years because of Uni and never had any real problems sure I can’t play all my games on the highest settings but how else can I play games in bed! Oh it cost around £730 I think but that was august last year so probably cheaper now. I do expect to buy a new desktop soon when I have the room and the money but at the moment it just isn’t practical for me to do so. Plus I can play ARMAII and RO2 on pretty much full graphics which is all I really care about!

  42. oozlum says:

    An Asus G73JW thing – 17 in screen, occasional crashes, plays RO2 fine on high. Very much a desktop replacement – needs wall power all the time when gaming. But it’s a lovely beast. Very happy with it.

  43. parm says:

    Dell XPS 15 thing from about a year ago. i7 of some sort, 2GB GeForce 435M, 4GB RAM, 1080p screen, blah, blah. It plays most games, although it struggles at 1080p or if you turn the shinies up too far. Most stuff about 2-3 years old runs well.

    It’s a pain in the arse, though – it’s heavy, and hot, and the battery is worthless, even though I shelled out for the super-inconveniently-shaped extra-long-life one. It’s also had one motherboard replacement already because of a knackered GPU. Desktop gaming is definitely preferable; my next laptop is going to be an Air or an Ultrabook or something like that and I will use it for work, retro/indie games and Minecraft and I will be happy.

    (I also have a netbook that runs old games pretty well so long as they cope with the retardo-screen at 1024×600)

  44. zergrush says:

    I got a Samsung RF511 a couple of months ago.

    Got this because since I needed a mobile computer to use at college I might as well get one I can play some games on.

    Specs:

    i5 2410M
    6GB DDR3
    NVidia GT540M
    750Gb hdd
    Blu-ray reader

    It cost me the equivalent of about US$1.100, and so far I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve played plenty of Dead Island, SCII and the BF3 beta in it and it’s managed to run all of them pretty well.

  45. dubyabyeats says:

    I picked up a replacement for my Dell XPS m1330 which really wasn’t much of a machine for gaming on.

    The most cost effective replacement I could find was a 15″ Acer 5750G with an nvidia gt-540m graphics card (plays just about everything quite adequately). Intel I7 processor for the number crunching and 6Gb of ram

    Quite adequate came in at about €800. Should do for those mobile lan parties I occasionally indulge in.

  46. Gundrea says:

    I have a massive Acer 8943G which I took apart here.

    Needless to say I judge the quality of a laptop by how well you can bludgeon someone with it.

  47. lucaryholt says:

    I’m gaming on a Acer 3820TG. It’s a 13,3 inch, but it can handle BF3 with everything on Medium.
    I’m overclocking it and using Game Booster, which helps a lot. I don’t need to play games with awesome graphics, I just want to have fun!

  48. zebby says:

    I got myself an Alienware M17xr3
    i7 2820QM @2.3GHz
    750hdd
    Radeon 9990M 2GB
    8GB GBB
    Blu-ray
    1080 screen

    Biggest issue I have is that Dell is awful at updating drivers.

    And the first one I got died immediately, BSOD after a few minutes of anything graphically intensive. Dell graciously replaced it – a month later and numerous calls back and forth to Alienware support.

  49. TazzAtNL says:

    You guys should check out the dutch site http://tweakers.net/archieven/tag/best+buy+guide/
    Every other month a new update for laptops, the other month for PC’s.

  50. DanPryce says:

    I exclusively use a laptop for gaming. I initially plumped for a laptop because, at the time, I wanted the mobility. Not necessarily the ability to play on trains and stuff – gaming laptops are sort of useless if they’re not tethered to a plug socket – but I needed to move it between home and uni (not to mention the missus, who until recently lived in a separate town). In rare cases like that where you’re splitting your time between locations, a decent gaming laptop is a convenient alternative to a desktop.

    But that’s a pretty narrow spectrum of useful situations. I’m sure other people have other reasons for preferring a laptop. Don’t get me wrong; I love my laptop. It’s got a pretty good spec. I couldn’t tell you the exact details off the top of my head; It chugs a bit under Just Cause 2′s weight, but it can run Far Cry 2, Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham Asylum at full settings without fuss. I’m extremely happy with it.

    But I would trade it for a desktop any day of the week. The ability to move your gaming around can only go so far. You lose the ability to upgrade easily; you lose the ergonomic/chiropractic benefits of sitting properly on a chair at a desk using a properly angled keyboard; it’s a sod to have to plug everything in every time. Be under no illusions (and I’m sure you’re not); desktop PCs are just better.